As a PhD student you regularly have to write academic articles. However, writing a scientific article is not that easy. Below we provide you a number of tips.
Of course you already have a subject; the issue you are researching. Usually that is part of a larger study. When writing your article, make sure your piece is central. Also make sure that the subject you are writing about is of interest to you.
In any case, do not choose a topic that:
Is of no interest to you;
Is too difficult;
About which no information can be found.
Design of the academic article
How you build up your article depends partly on your field. Philosophers often opt for literature research, while physicists often opt for experiments.
The structure of a scientific article is divided as follows:
- Main question
- Answer to the main question, findings, conclusions
- Consequences, recommendations, discussion
- Explanation, elaboration
- Details, results
Would you like to write more information about a research plan? Then read the blog: Writing your research report in 4 steps.
The language in which you write your article depends on the scientific journal you have in mind. In the Netherlands, many scientific magazines have Dutch as their language of instruction. Of course you can also opt for a foreign trade journal. Realize, however, that you must be able to write your article in error-free English. If you want to write one or more English scientific articles, make sure you have a good knowledge of the language. Did part of your English knowledge slipped away? Then it is advisable to follow a refresh your knowledge, or to have your work checked – by payment or otherwise – by a native speaker.
Also remember that a language changes. Once you open a book from 1930 you read it immediately. The choice of words but also style have changed. Writing language has become less formal in recent years.
Academic writing? Tips and points to take into account
Whether you write in Dutch or English, there are a few points that you should take into account when writing scientific articles:
- Consider the target group and adjust your writing style accordingly
- Treat only one topic per paragraph
- Use specific words instead of vague descriptions. So not: “the director spoke about various advantages of the various program points”, but rather: “the director praised the new program points”
- Avoid open doors
- Delete meaningless words: some writers use words that seem to say a lot, but essentially add nothing or hardly
- Avoid words like: a kind of, actually, essentially, absolutely, especially, etc.
- Stay as objective as possible.
- In addition to the design, readability and content of the article, think of the presentation. The article should look neat and tidy.